Nestled at the bottom of Klein Drakenstein, awaited an afternoon of wine tasting with an Avondale twist known as an Eco Wine Safari. Avondale is a 300-year-old farm that is now family-owned and run by the Grieve family who believes in keeping things natural.
The impressive 300 hectares of farm includes vineyards, dams and untouched indigenous land, and, of course, a tasting gallery. Surrounded by lush mountains and valleys, a visit to the Avondale makes for a picture-perfect opportunity. Besides the scenery, there’s plenty wildlife to photograph and marvel at with the variety of birds the farm attracts. I had the pleasure of catching sights of a Cape Eagle Owl and African Fish Eagle, as well as meeting Avondale’s precious ducks on the safari. The ducks and Angus cattle are responsible for getting rid of pests as part of Johnathan Grieve’s natural ecosystem philosophy. The ducks speciality? Eating slugs.
My afternoon at Avondale began with a flute of their MCC named Armilla Blanc de Blanc (R218 a bottle) and a meet and greet with the owner Johnathan Grieve. After that, we all loaded onto the farm-style truck for a Eco Wine Safari. The fun, bumpy ride took us through Avondale’s vineyards stopping off at various points to marvel at the sights in the winter sun, learn more about Grieve’s philosophy, and of course, tasting wines from Avondale’s collection. I also got to head down to the cellars to see where the second stage of this magic all happens.
I pretty much fell in love with all of Avondale’s white wines – Anima (R198 a bottle) and Cyclus (R248 a bottle). I enjoyed the complexity and earthiness of the Anima, but I would take a glass of Cyclus any day of the week with it’s light, fruity goodness. Camissa (R149 a bottle), a rosé which was sweet but had a dry finish to it, was the most affordable of the wines we tasted on the day. Out of the red wines, the Navitas (R1 000 a bottle) stood out from the rest, not only in price, but also in taste as Avondale’s red wine blend. The bottle comes in a beautiful case with cork finishings.
To end off a wonderful day in the Paarl Valley, we all tucked into Avondale’s signature lunch platters which were prepared by Chef Matt Manning. The platter is more than enough to fill two hungry explorers and boasts a selection of cheeses matched with pickles and compote jars all homemade and served with crostini; risotto balls, kingklip and salmon fishcakes, and lamb Kofta each paired with a dipping sauce which made me happy right away. The platter also comes with a pickled garden salad served alongside wholegrain mustard and orange dressing, and three sandwiches of which the smoked rainbow trout was my favourite with a generous spread of cream cheese.
The drive home felt much like a lazy Sunday afternoon when you’re satisfied that you’ve made good decisions all day. By good decisions, I mean fine wine, delicious food and entertaining company.
Where Avondale, Lustigan Road, Klein Drakenstein, Paarl
When Wednesday – Friday 10 am – 3 pm to book an Eco Wine Safari
Cost R200 pp
Contact +27 21 863 1976, [email protected]